Philippines seeks United Nations arbitration on South China Sea claims

Wednesday, January 23, 2013

The Philippines said yesterday it will take China to an arbitration tribunal under the United Nations Convention on the Law of the Sea (UNCLOS) on a series of territorial disputes involving the South China Sea.

According to Philippine Foreign Affairs Secretary Albert del Rosario, Manila chose this move after exhausting "almost all political and diplomatic avenues." He also says he has already informed the Chinese ambassador in Manila.

Disputes such as those involving the Scarborough Shoal and China's Nine-dotted line map are likely to be tackled. The Philippines has stated the map issued by China is unlawful under UNCLOS, which includes both countries as signatories.

The Philippines and China are involved in a variety of disputes in the South China Sea along with Taiwan and ASEAN members Brunei, Malaysia, and Vietnam. The current chair of ASEAN, Brunei, has stated it seeks a legally-binding "code of conduct" for the disputes.